NORTHFIELD, Vt. – For the 40th consecutive season, the Norwich University football team and their counterparts from St. Lawrence University will meet on the gridiron. One of the longest non-league rivalries in Division III football, both teams will battle for the Hoffman Cup for the first time in 2017.
The Cadets home opener at Sabine Field will mark the first battle between both squads for the Hoffman Cup, a trophy that, up until last season, was awarded to the winner of the St. Lawrence and the United States Merchant Marine Academy.
With Merchant Marine no longer on the Saints schedule, the tilt between Norwich and St. Lawrence will offer an opportunity to continue to honor the legacy of the Hoffman family and its ties to the military. The game is slated to begin at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9.
Tom Hoffman, a 1975 graduate of St. Lawrence, dedicated the game to his father, Captain Richard A. Hoffman, a 1944 graduate of Merchant Marine, for his 80th birthday in 2003. Captain Hoffman passed away in 2006, but this tradition honored both him and his family's commitment to athletics, the Merchant Marine Academy and St. Lawrence University.
"We are proud to introduce the Hoffman Cup in our long-standing rivalry with St. Lawrence," remarked Norwich head coach Mark Murnyack. "The Saints have always been a tough opponent for us and a game we look forward to on our schedule every season. This game will now mean even more as it gives both teams the ability to compete in honor of Captain Hoffman's appreciation of sports and military service."
"Football has always been an important part of my life," said Tom Hoffman. "Over the years, I've seen how much the Hoffman Cup means to the players, and it has become a real rallying point in the schedule for my family and a lot of alumni. It's great that the tradition will continue in a new form with Norwich."
Against Merchant Marine, St. Lawrence held the 9-5 advantage across 14 Hoffman Cup tilts since its introduction in 2003. For Norwich, the series against the Saints extends all the way back to Nov. 2, 1907, a 5-0 victory for the Horsemen. St. Lawrence holds the 32-29 edge in the all-time history between both teams, including the last two wins in the series.
"The Hoffman Cup has become an important part of St. Lawrence football tradition," said Saints head coach Dan Puckhaber. "Norwich has always been a tough opponent for us, and I don't think there's a better way to honor the legacy of Captain Hoffman than by extending the Hoffman Cup tradition to our rivalry with the Cadets."
Norwich begins its first season in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference in 2017, rekindling rivalries against schools such as the United States Coast Guard Academy and Springfield College. Following three non-conference contests to begin the year, the Cadets host the Coast Guard on Saturday, Sept. 23 at 2 p.m. on Sabine Field.